CRC – History

The History Behind the Community Recreation Center (CRC)

A Vision for Equity and Inclusion

Oak Park is a place for all to feel welcome: to be safe, to be healthy, and to feel a sense of belonging. Many decades ago, the Village took action to embrace equity for all and establish our community value of strength in diversity. Ever since then, Oak Park has been committed to its inclusive mission.

Our diverse collection of families presented different recreation and fitness needs, and although Oak Park enjoyed many park district services and amenities—including two outdoor pools, parks, an ice rink, a gymnastic center, tennis courts, and nearly 3,000 programs—local residents lacked access to a gymnasium, fitness facility, an indoor walking track, or a multi-generational community center that served families and individuals including the growing senior population.

Based on public engagement through community surveys and the 2016 feasibility study, we believed the construction of a Community Recreation Center would meet the diverse needs of residents of all ages, abilities, backgrounds, and economic statuses. The Community Recreation Center was designed to offer our community:

    • A safe place for youth of all ages to go immediately after school
    • A year-round, indoor walking track that Oak Park residents of all ages can access at no cost
    • A place for Oak Park youth to access mental health services and creative social-emotional programming
    • Affordable group classes and fitness opportunities for individuals and families
    • A place for teen programming on weekends and evenings
    • A place to bring our community together and make connections to build and strengthen community bonds

Fiscal Responsibility

Many Oak Park residents were feeling financial pressure from increasing property taxes. The Parks Foundation of Oak Park and the Park District listened to these community concerns and committed to using existing resources in conjunction with a Capital Campaign to build a much-needed Community Recreation Center without increasing taxes.

The Parks Foundation of Oak Park committed to primarily funding this project with grants and charitable donations. In addition, the operating costs of the facility are funded by user fees. The Capital Campaign was spearheaded by a group of local residents, donors, and volunteers committed to the achievement of this bold, transformative project.

The Project

The Community Recreation Center is located on Madison Avenue east of Ridgeland Avenue. The one-acre property site, which was donated to the Parks Foundation, serves as an anchor to an area of Oak Park that can benefit from revitalization.

The full vision of the project is split into two phases. The design and capital campaign began its focus on Phase One.

Phase One consists of:

    • Inclusive Restrooms
    • Community Rooms
    • Multipurpose Room
    • E-Sports Room
    • Mental Health Consultation Suite
    • Gymnasiums
    • Fitness Center
    • Group Exercise
    • Inclusive Locker Rooms
    • Child Watch / Play Area

Construction Details

Construction History

Community Engagement

Community Artwork

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